Since 2009, John Wesley Harding, aka Wesley Stace or Wes (as he prefers to be known), has put together over 100 of what he calls his “Cabinet Of Wonders” shows. They’re vaudeville affairs bringing together musicians, poets, comedians and novelists. The affable and quick witted Stace has amassed an impressive number of contacts over the years. He’s put these to good use and the Cabinets have included spots from Steve Earle, Susanna Hoffs, Rosanne Cash, Jonathan Coe, The Cardigan’s Nina Persson, Harry Hill and Paul Muldoon, to name just a few.
In 2010, Stace was writer-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. Stace used his little black book to good effect as part of the university’s annual Words, Arts, and Music Festival, putting together an event entitled ‘Jersey Rain’. The evening featured Bruce Springsteen and former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky discussing their respective creative processes in a small lecture theatre. Before taking questions from the audience, Stace led a rather wonderful acoustic performance of Springsteen’s ‘Wreck On The Highway’, featuring some great understated guitar playing from the Boss, which was fortunately captured for posterity.